I have fond memories of the two years I lived in Payson in the late ’70s.
When I first arrived to work for Challenge/Discovery, I was welcomed by Mark and Becky Sopeland, people I still consider friends even though I haven’t seen them or spoken to them in years. Then there were the kids: Scott, Amber and Diana Holden, Jesse Smith, John and Jessica (twins) and many, many others. We hiked and camped and skied and canoed all over the area, from the Mazatzals to the Highline Trail, from the Verde River to Four Peaks, from Weaver’s Needle to Christopher Creek. I fell in love with central Arizona, and love it still.
At that time, you only had to dial four digits to make a phone call.
Yellow Front was the largest store in town. There were no stoplights (which made crossing the Beeline quite a task during the summer Winnebago months). My favorite business was Pedro Wong’s Mexican Chinese stand. The Oxbow had a sign on the door that said, “Check your guns,” and people did!
Since then I have continued to keep up with news from Payson through the online version of the Roundup. It’s fascinating to read of the changes occurring in the Rim Country.
I do have one question, though: Whatever happened to my favorite letter-writer Jim Kane? I looked forward to reading his pot-stirring letters and hope to see more of them. Dissent isn’t just patriotic; it’s essential.
I’d love to hear from anyone I knew “back in the day.” E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org